Snow Day for all!

Schools in our area are closed today and tomorrow. I was not able to get to work this morning, either. And not for lack of trying. I did manage to get it out the drive way, but making all the way up the hill- not happening. When tires start slipping and spinning and wanting to throw you into someone else’s home, it’s time to pack it up. So we have spent a lot of the day outside, playing. A few chores were done, but mostly just playing. I have a few photos up on FaceBook. Might put the videos up there later too. And yes, Snow Puppy is having the time of his life with this stuff! I think he’s been more insistent on going outside than the kids! Now, as far as work goes, call outs were 100%. Bossman has been at the store since 2AM and might be going home soon, unless the higher-ups tell him to go ahead and get a hotel room. So there is a chance the store will be closed again tomorrow. And not by anyone’s choice. It’s already started sleeting and freezing rain here, so if it continues, conditions are going to get very icy and then I won’t make it up the hill at all. Already talked to the Bossman about that. I will be there if I can get up the blasted hill. Might be the only one, though….

In other news, we watched How to Train Your Dragon today with the kids. Youngest got it over the holidays and this is the first chance we’ve had to sit and watch it. As someone who is Heathen and Asatru, surprisingly, I loved it! Only a few nitpicks here and there, but overall, very good, especially for a kids movie. Then again, I love dragons too, so that may have had something to do with it :). Youngest said the whole thing was her favorite when I asked her which part she liked best. So, very cool. Do recommend it, Heathen or no.

Haven’t really broached the gaming subject in like forever. Been playing Fable 3 and World of Keflings mostly, mixed in with Your Shape Fitness Evolved. Really have not been feeling too well over the last month, with being sick and all, so not much working out has occurred, but I do try for once a week. I think that’s better than nothing. And with this one, you don’t have a trainer yelling at you for not being there. I kinda like that. With Fable 3 I am working on my Prince character (have 2 Princesses already) and trying to play this one a little more evil. It’s hard to do, when my first instinct is do the right thing, especially if the kids are watching me play. He actually has three wives and two kids already. Working on the Henry VIII achievement there. Have six spouses as a monarch and kill two of them. Yup. World of Keflings has been fun, but much more tedious than Kingdom for Keflings. Much harder to get achievements with. And to get blueprints to build more buildings. Still, it’s fun and worth the points I paid for it.

Games coming out this year I can’t wait for: Dragon Age 2, Elderscrolls V: Skyrim and Mass Effect 3. Dragon Age 2 comes out in March and the rest in November and December. Gonna have to take those two months off to play :). The one I can’t wait for the most, though, and at the same time am apprehensive about is Skyrim. There is a lot of talk about making it an MMO. My major problem with MMO’s in general is you pay for the game initially and then you have a monthly fee you have to pay in order to keep playing the game. I stay away for that reason alone. If you want an example of an MMO for those not in the know, World of Warcraft is perhaps the most popular and well-known one out there. Of all time. Yeah, I’ve toyed with the idea of trying it, but then we come to the money. And here we start my reasoning behind it:

Yes, I do have an XBOX Live Gold account, which allows me to play the multiplayer portion of the games on the XBOX. HOWEVER, it’s not a fee for just ONE game and it allows me to do so much more than just play games. Often times Gold Members see little perks, like early or exclusive releases for Marketplace items, etc. We also get access to Netflix, FaceBook, Twitter, Last.FM and ESPN on our consoles. I think Zune is available to all members, Silver and Gold. And Hubby and I rarely ever pay full price for our Accounts either. Right around the holidays they have sales that we catch. One year we each got our Accounts renewed for $30 each.

An MMO is not like that. In most cases you cannot play the game without paying the monthly fee. And if you can play it, then you have very limited access. And that fee is for ONE game only. I’ve heard a rumor two about games from the same company maybe offering joint fees at a discount, but I have yet to see anything. If anyone knows different, feel free to let me know. When you have a family of four where they are all gamers to some degree, it is not economical for us to pay a fee for everyone to play the same game. Especially when in most cases it has to be on the same computer. We’ve run into the problem a few times with certain DLC from the XBOX, but it’s been easily resolved. It’s not so easy in MMO’s. If we were rich, I still wouldn’t want to pay so many separate fees. And Hubby feels the same way.

So when they keep brining up MMO with Skyrim, it makes me very nervous, especially since I’ve been waiting about 3 years for this game. I’m a huge fan of the Elderscrolls games, having started with Morrowind. And if we have to pay an extra fee to play this game, in addition to our Gold Memberships, then I will be most upset. It’s why I didn’t play the one Final Fantasy Game a few years ago. I have a family and they come before my hobby. So I am hoping when Game Informer comes out with its newest issue, and it’s promise of a nice huge spread on the game, that more information will be out for me to find out. If it’s got extra fees, other than the DLC releases, then it’s a no go. Especially if we have to pay a separate one for each of us. There are 3 definites to play the game and one maybe. If they go with the standard $10 – 15 fee, then we’re looking at $40-60 each month that could be going towards food, clothes, bills, etc. So, here’s hoping.

Guess that’s it for now. I’m going to make some Potato Soup for dinner tonight and hope that I can get to work in the morning. Hope everyone is enjoying the snow!

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It’s the New Year, and so far it’s been eh.

We’re, what, nine days into 2011? Yeah, nothing really to write home about yet. Maybe in a few weeks or months. Who knows what it’ll bring.

Snow will be hitting the area tonight and into tomorrow, changing over to ice/rain/snow mix. Now, this is nothing against the South, as having lived here for round about a decade now, I understand why some things are the way they are. But, it still drives my Yankee ass up the wall when I see people go into full on panic mode when they hear “snow”. They have to rush to the grocery store and buy all the bread and milk they can muster up. Hope they have a back up generator for the fridge when the power goes out, if it does. Otherwise they’re out about $4 per gallon they bought. And I hope they have something like PB&J or something else to put on that bread if the power goes out. It honestly hurts my brain when I think of some of the things that people do when they think they’re getting ready for an emergency. Especially when they are doing things not totally smart (not wrong, just not smart) and then don’t even think about how long snow actually lasts around here. Not long at all. Unless the storm is very bad, I doubt Tuesday afternoon will be too bad roadwise. And I believe there will be stores open. With plenty of food to resupply you.

The only time I’ve ever seen either one of my parents freak out over a storm was back in 1996 when we were hit by a lot of snow storms in early January and then the temps heated up and it rained, followed by more snow. It was a mess, but even then, they weren’t THAT panicked. It was mostly the flooding that worried them, and the fact that we had acquired a basement pool that was inching closer and closer to the outlet box. I grew up in the Catskill Mountains of New York State (not City). Snow was very common there. A little flooding wasn’t uncommon. But nearly everybody in the area was ready, even though I think we were all a but shocked at how bad it had gotten. But Mom and Dad always made sure we had plenty of food (and non-perishables), plenty of fuel for the wood stove upstairs in the kitchen, and lots of warm clothes, etc. If the power went out, we didn’t freak out and think it was the end of the world. We light up the gas lamps, bring out some cards, a board game or just read/tell stories. It was unplanned free time, that usually ended up with the family spending it together. And I remember having fun during those times when I was a kid.

I try to do that same with our kids now, as does Hubby. We don’t like it when the Youngest starts getting so paranoid when she hears about possible power outages or really bad weather. She loves snow, but she doesn’t like bad weather. And she gets very worried, almost to the point that she makes herself sick. I hate the fact that she’s learned this, and wish she hadn’t. So we try to calm her and explain that everything will be all right. She knows I have a Propane Heater, and a little camp stove that runs on Propane, along with a little stockpile of Propane (Dad worked for Suburban Propane, so you get the idea ;).), and we have the Propane Grill outside. That’s not including the food I try to keep stockpiled in the house, and the water and the first aid kit, stuff for the pets, etc. I don’t worry about how we’ll make it here if the power goes out or if it snows so much that we’ll be truly snowed in. I know how we’ll make it. Between Hubby and myself, we’ll make sure the family survives. And I think we have our parents to thank for that :). We have all major disasters covered, that we’ve been through, or the parental units have, and they shared their knowledge. So I hope to break Youngest of her fear. Be knowledgeable, be ready, be prepared. Don’t be so worried that you spend all that time in the bathroom throwing up, etc, and being stuck with a bunch of stuff that is mostly useless.

I think the only thing that really worries during snowstorms here (and that includes ice/mix), is the fact that people here don’t know how to drive in it. That in itself is OK. BUT, they aren’t smart about it. They go out in it, especially when they don’t have to. They have to be nosy and see “how bad it is”. That really gets to me. Along with the fact that they didn’t pay attention in Driver’s Ed, when they were told if conditions are slippery, you don’t want to speed like a bat out of hell, or use your brakes that much. I know it’s not common around most places here for it to be slippery, but EVEN the news stations repeat this info constantly.

If you recall from past posts, I live on a hill. We have a slight incline, nothing too steep. However when it’s icy, it might as well be steep. And I don’t have my Intrepid to drive anymore, a car that has a lot of weight behind it, especially since it was an older model. Now I have a tiny little KIA, and the last time I tried to traverse the icy hill from hell, I was lucky I didn’t end up in one of my neighbors’ living rooms. And no, there are no plows, no sandtrucks, etc. Most counties in each Southern state (unless this kind of winter weather is common) might have a plow/sandtruck between them. And they are used mostly for the main roads to ensure that emergency vehicles can still get through. And I don’t have enough salt stockpiled to clear our entire road, even if I felt like being that charitable. So my rule of thumb is, if I can’t make it out of my driveway, then I doubt anyone else could or should. It doesn’t get icy often, so it’s rare I use that.

Which comes to my next point. I work at a restaurant, and have been at this same one, owned by the same company, for almost six years now. For my fellow co-workers that may or may not stumble  across this: The home office has only ever closed the store, officially, when it wasn’t a holiday, ONCE. There have been times when it was closed briefly, but then opened right back up. They don’t count (and for the record we’re at four times for that). That day they closed the store entirely, it was due to an ice storm that hit the area really bad. We had no power on our side of the street from 8:30 on till very early the next morning. The other side of the street had power. We didn’t. Go figure. Anyway, we were “OPEN” the entire time until 5PM. The ones of us that were there were not allowed to leave. It was two managers and three crew members. It was fun hanging out, but I would have preferred to be home with my littleone and my then roomie (the BFF). Over the years since, I think I’ve called out for snow at least twice. Once was because I didn’t feel like going in (and you can’t read this and tell me you haven’t done something like that at least once. We’re all allowed at least once). The other time I had fallen while getting the car ready for me to go in (I even had Youngest ready to go in with me, with the school closed). I was already hurting pretty bad with the lovely weather, but the fall made it worse. So after I hauled my ass up the steps and into the house, I called out. Most of the time, if I didn’t have a babysitter for the kids, and it was an emergency, they’d come to work with me. Even our higher up managers didn’t have a problem with this. Unless they were really, SERIOUSLY sick, they’d come in with me. My current General Manager was a little depressed the last time school was closed because I didn’t have the Youngest there with me, with a movie or her Nintendo DS. He loved sitting there and watching it with her. But Daddy was home.

Now, unless it rains before the snow starts, or something happens to cause it to be too slippery, or we actually get SNOWED IN (three inches don’t count), I’ll be at work. And unless my co-workers live out in the outlier areas that always get hit hard (and not many do), if I can make it in, I expect them to be there. I know Bossman feels the same way. His driveway is similar to my street. Only more steep. Leave a little earlier, go slow and stay calm. Yes, this is one of the few times where my foot does not push the accelorator into the floorboard. Pappa taught me right.

In other news, Happy New Years and I hope everyone had a good Yule. Now it’s time for me to play some Sims and then bedtime. Truck day tomorrow. So I need to be there a bit early, even if the snow hasn’t started.

It's Snow Puppy! From the Christmas snow we saw last year.